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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Herreriaceae Kunth

~ Liliaceae or Agavaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Scandent (sub-) shrubs, or lianas. Rhizomatous, or tuberous. Climbing; stem twiners, or scrambling (sometimes with stem prickles, cf. Smilax). Leaves alternate, or opposite; spiral; leathery (somewhat cladode-like); sessile (concentrated in lateral clusters); simple. Lamina entire; linear to lanceolate; parallel-veined; without cross-venules (?). Lamina margins entire. Leaf development probanly ‘graminaceous’.

Leaf anatomy. The mesophyll containing crystals. The crystals raphides.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. The vessel end-walls scalariform.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the gynoecium (via septal nectaries).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles. Inflorescences not scapiflorous; axillary; panicles, with small, scalelike leaves at the base, the pedicels articulated. Flowers small; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 whorled; isomerous; sepaloid, or petaloid (?); similar in the two whorls (at least in size and shape); deciduous. Tepal apex trichomes (TAT) present (Herreria).

Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; diplostemonous. Anthers dorsifixed, or basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate; sulcate.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 3 locular; sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; apical; short. Stigmas 1; capitate. Placentation axile. Ovules 1–50 per locule (to ‘many’).

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules septicidal (trilobate). Seeds copiously endospermic; helically winged (and flattened). Testa encrusted with phytomelan; black.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Ellagic acid absent.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical and Neotropical. Temperate to tropical. Subtropical South America, Madagascar.

Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Asparagales. APG III core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot. APG IV Order Asparagales (Agavoideae).

Species 9. Genera 2; Herreria, Herreriopsis.

General remarks. Description very poor.

Illustrations. • Herreria parviflora: Bot. Reg. 12 (1826). • Herreria salsaparilha: Flora Brasiliensis 3 (1842).

We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, genera included in each family, and classifications (Dahlgren; Dahlgren, Clifford, and Yeo; Cronquist; APG). See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 5th March 2018.’.